UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI: UM Researchers Uncover Brain Science Behind Impulsivity

University of Mississippi issued the following announcement on Dec. 31.

Researchers in the School of Applied Sciences at the University of Mississippi have discovered an anatomical link in the human brain associated with impulsivity.

“Impulsivity is the tendency of your behavior to make decisions based on what you see in front of you, rather than seeing the entire picture,” said Tossi Ikuta, assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders and first author of the breakthrough study “White matter integrity in the fronto-striatal accumbofrontal tract predicts impulsivity,” recently published in the journal Brain Imaging and Behavior.

“So if you see something you want in front of you, do you buy it? You would consider your financial situation of this week or this month and make a decision. If you don’t do that and you just buy it – that is high impulsivity behavior.”

Some high impulsivity behaviors are associated with high behavioral risks, including taking illegal drugs or driving very fast.

Ikuta translated previous animal studies by using human MRI data to confirm what previous research has shown to be true in animal models: the strength of the connection between the brain’s pre-frontal cortex and the nucleus accumbens is a good indicator of impulsivity. The nucleus accumbens is a major component of the brain’s reward center.

“Previously this projection from the frontal lobe to the nucleus accumbens has been known to be associated to impulsivity in rodents,” Ikuta said. “Our colleague, Dr. Alberto del Arco, did a study with rodents showing this projection from the pre-frontal cortex to the nucleus accumbens and associated with dopamine release at the nucleus accumbens.

Original source can be found here.

Source: University of Mississippi 

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